In a groundbreaking move, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 760 into law, mandating K-12 schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms by July 2026. Here’s the full story.
The New Law
Under the new law, each school district, charter school, and county office of education, must have at least one gender-neutral bathroom accessible during school hours and functions.
The Press Release
Governor Newsom, in a press release, expressed his gratitude to Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman and the LGBTQ Caucus for their unwavering commitment to advancing the state’s values of equality, and acceptance.
Protect Vulnerable Youth
He said, “These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”
The law outlines specific requirements for gender-neutral bathrooms, including clear signage indicating accessibility to all genders and ensuring the facility is unlocked, unobstructed, and easily accessible for all pupils.
Moreover, a staff member will serve as a point of contact.
Expanding LGBTQ+ Rights in California
Senate Bill 760 is part of a comprehensive set of bills aimed at expanding LGBTQ+ rights in California.
These bills include legislation establishing timelines for LGBTQ+ cultural competency training for public school staff, creating an advisory task force to identify statewide LGBTQ+ needs, and ensuring confidentiality for minor petitioners seeking a change of gender and sex identifier through the court system.
Many Supported the New Law
Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, also praised Governor Newsom’s support for these essential initiatives.
She said, “This year the LGBTQ Caucus took up the important work of protecting our communities in the face of vile anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, discriminatory laws across the country, and hatred.”
The Harm LGBTQ+ People Will Continue to Face
“I appreciate the Governor’s partnership in signing some of our priority and endorsed legislation today, and hope we can continue to educate about the harm LGBTQ+ people will continue to face if we fail to act,” she added.
However, people like Jonathan Zacherson, spokesperson for Protect Kids California and a school board member, perceive these changes differently.
Separate Private Spaces
Zacherson’s organization is advocating for an initiative that would maintain separate private spaces in schools based on biological sex.
Zacherson expressed concerns about the new law, referencing a 2013 legislation that allows pupils to participate in sex-segregated programs, including locker rooms, based on their gender identity.
He argued for a reconsideration of AB 1266, aiming to address concerns about privacy and comfort, particularly for cisgender students.
Twitter Users Expressed Their Views
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Good to see California declining as a society, at least we know they are still there and alive.”
This Is Great
Another user added, “It’s great to see California taking steps towards inclusivity in its schools. Providing gender-neutral bathrooms is an important move to ensure that all students feel respected.”
This Shows Where Priorities Are
A third user commented, “There’s too much crime and homelessness in California, so many economic problems there and that’s what your leader chooses to prioritize. Just shows where his priorities are at and it’s not to fix the issues but to cause more social division among people”
This Won’t Go Well
A fourth user wrote, “A high school bathroom that allows boys and girls to both go in… at the same time… without even having to sneak… this won’t go poorly at all.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.